Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Mornington Wildlife Camp / Winjana Gorge 12/9/2013

As usual we were awake with the birds as the sun was coming up, with the tent being right on the creek there was a lot of animal activity close to us. Now we are not bird watchers, but we learned about some threatened birds that had been brought back from the brink at Mornington. Standing on our balcony we were watching these little finches flit around – then it dawned on us what we were looking art – Iain got his camera out and managed to capture this little fellow.

As this was our last morning here, we started getting everything packed up – we had every appliance and rechargeable battery in the car charging before we left. You just have to take advantage of whatever facilities are available to you at the time! We went for another glorious breakfast and then spent another hour or so finishing the pack up and taking photos.

By 10 we were on the road, we had hoped to go to Bell Gorge, but there was an enormous bushfire burning out of control so it had been closed. We changed our route a little and decided to go down to Windjana Gorge National Park and then Tunnel Creek and then onto Broome. We were about half an hour from Mornington when guess what – another puncture, in the same tyre! I don’t know why but that tyre has serious bad karma! 

We had an idea that the repair done in Gove had failed, so Iain put the spare on. We pushed on to the Iminji community store as we knew that there was a tyre repair place there – funny the Gibb River Road has an abundance of tyre repair places, couldn’t imagine why! We got to Iminji and a lovely guy by the name of Gavin had a tyre shop next to the store. He was extremely welcoming and we sat in the nicest workshop area I have ever been in. When he got the tyre off the rim we discovered that the puncture was new – right next to the old patch. He repaired it for us and we were on our way. By now we realised that we were going to have to replace the 2 back tyres, they have taken a real hammering. The problem is that they are a really odd size so we are more than likely going to have to order them and get them sent to Carnarvon.

With a now viable spare, we pushed on towards Windjana Gorge, the area we were now driving in, was the area that the fire was burning in. The fire scar was enormous and just kept going for kilometre after kilometre, we could see smoke and realised that there was definitely more than one fire. When we got closer to where the fires were still burning, there was a plane circling overhead, and local fire authority trucks. The only thing they could do was monitor where it was going. 

We were quite worried about the fires and decided that we would not bush camp, but go to the National Park as they would be monitoring, and would let us know if we needed to move.We had hoped that as it was getting so hot there would not be many people. Wishful thinking, the camp ground was full and we managed to get the last spot. It was still early so after setting up we thought we would go for a look around and see what was worth looking at. We expected a long walk as we had seen quite a few people driving back in their cars. It wasn’t even 500m down the road and we were at the entrance to the gorge! We realised that we were back in tourist country and away from the rugged outback.

The gorge was really beautiful, with soaring cliffs on either side. We were not very far in when finally we spotted crocs, fresh water crocs, but crocs nonetheless. We waited around until all the tourists had left and did some more photos. I find it amazing that people leave before the best time of the day, just as the sun is going down, a very special part of the day.

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